Outsourcing IT Services - Freelance Developer vs Professional IT Company

Is it prudent to hire a freelancer or an agency for your app development need?

App Development has become a multi-dollar industry in present times. Companies, as well as individuals, are on a constant lookout for individuals and agencies that can create mind-blowing apps which can help them cash on this app boom.

In fact, the app rush is taking the world by storm. It takes a lot of effort to find a suitable app developer and that also within your budget. Your diligence and knowledge will help you pick out the extraordinary from the ordinary.

Only if you have your app developed by a dexterous developer will you have the sweet taste of success lest you will end up wasting your precious money.

In case you need an app for your company you can either employ an in-house team which will develop the product as per need and requirement. Also, you can take help of a freelancer who can work with your internal team in order to create an app in accordance with your requirement. The second choice is that you hire expert services of a mobile app development agency.

Both these options are entirely different and it is you who has to judge both the pros and cons of each of these available alternatives.

Hiring a freelancer can be an extremely attractive alternative and a lot of businesses follow this path. But then as per statistics, 80% of the business concerns face the brunt of issues such as freelancer’s availability, his or her response time, and in some cases even the quality.

What’s more is that for big scale concerns, even the most talented freelancers cannot cope up with the work pressure. Freelancers usually have their own way of executing things which might not be apt for businesses who are looking for organized and process-oriented service providers.

An agency, on the other hand, is basically a one-stop solution for all your app needs. It offers efficiency as well as a unified force towards the achievement of your business aims. They can even come up with flexible schedules so that you end up paying for resources which you actually need.

In order to make your decisions easy, we will give an idea about both freelancers and agencies, so that you can make a wise choice.

Before you choose a person or agency pay heed to certain basic parameters which are mentioned below -

Quality of work done by freelancer or agency

Before you hire someone to look for the body of work done by them. An App speaks volumes about its developer. It is akin to a marketing tool.

If the app is sloppy or outdated this means that the developer does not have a progressive and innovative mindset. So, whether you plan on hiring an agency or a freelancer you must review the app which is created by them. This will give you a realistic feel for how your work will be done.

In case an agency or a freelancer has experienced only in building simpler apps do not burden them if you are looking for something complicated.

Just make sure that your vision matches the experience of the candidate. Also, bear in mind this important point that agencies follow a standardized procedure for testing while freelancers usually conduct a self-test which might not be very accurate.

With an agency, you have the benefit of the entire team working for you. If the developer gets stuck somewhere, there are other people in the team to bail him out of the situation. Nevertheless, a good developer is a good developer, irrespective of the fact whether he works independently or in an agency.

Scope of work

Usually, a freelancer offers you a solution as per your need. This propels the need for you to fully understand what technical specifications you desire.

If you are not clear, then the outcome will not be up to the mark. So, if there is any lag in specifications which you provide, the freelancer will never advise you to do something differently.

On the other hand, an agency works differently. They will guide you through how the finished product will likely to shape up.

It is akin to working on a movie where the work is not just the actors which you see on the screen, it is the collective effort of a whole lot of people such as designers, creative directors, producers etc.

When a team works together from beginning to end, the final result is simply brilliant. Independent workers are too involved in work to comprehend the shortcomings in the final outcome.

Also, you cannot expect a single person to be best in all the things such as UX design, UI design, iOS development, Android development etc.

Post Launch Assistance

An agency offers better post-launch support than an independent worker. This is because agencies usually have a separate department which handles all after launch queries of the client.

It is not that a freelancer will refuse you support but it is quite possible that he or she is hard pressed for time.

An agency generally offers complete details of their team’s availability for any post-launch support. This is clearly mentioned in the contract.

An app needs continuous upgradation in order to offer superb user experience and this is only possible if you are working with a team.

Most of the agencies provide some kind of warranty or the post-launch guarantee. They anticipate operating systems updates and offer app owner the same before users start complaining.

Freelancers by no chance can offer the same level of service to the app owners.

Availability

A very big point to be borne in mind with freelancers is their availability. It is quite possible that when you need a person he might not be available at that point of time and consequently, your project has to suffer.

But, with an agency, you will always have a team which will be available to work on your app as and when the need crops up.

Experience

Any average agency possesses more experience than a freelancer because there are more people in the team.

A freelancer has too many roles to play so it is quite possible that you will not get expert services.

Money and Time Spent

A freelancer will most likely deliver your project in a shorter time span. Agencies usually take a longer delivery time. But, then at end of the day, all you want is quality.

Also, as far as pricing is concerned freelancers might charge you less as compared to an agency as the overhead costs are relatively less.

An agency has a team of people working for you, so they will definitely charge you more.

The final call is your, whether you are working on a limited budget and you just need a working app with not too many specifications or you need a complex app which will cater to the broad spectrum of needs of the user.

Agencies charge more as they rope in a lot for you. They offer you a wide spectrum of varied services and make sure that they provide outcomes effectively as well as efficiently.

So, if you have adequate resources on hand, do not let the price factor sway your decision towards a freelancer as it might not turn out as good as you expected.

Consistency

The biggest pro of working with an agency is that you will get a consistent end product as their entire team will be working towards the desired outcome.

So, basically what you get in the end is a well-polished ready to launch an app. However, freelancers cannot deliver a similar level of consistency as it is tough to coordinate different people who have been selected for a similar project.

When you hire freelancers for a particular project, you really have to work hard and be careful in a case to wish to achieve the outcome of a consistent product.

Risk

Working with a freelancer as well as an agency will expose you to different risks.

The risk with a freelancer

  • There is a bigger risk of delay in completion of the project. In case if it is a one person who is taking care of all the departments, he or she might pay inadequate heed to your project.
  • There is a higher risk of a flawed end product. This could be due to lack of experience or even overburden.
  • There is a risk that you might have to begin anew. In case the freelancer with whom you are working ‘moves on’ to do a full-fledged job you can be left with no resort.

The risk with an agency

  • In comparison to a freelancer, an agency falls relatively ‘more expensive’. An agency has different people who are working for you such as the project managers, sales team, designers, developers, QA team etc. and it is you, who is paying for all of them but for their actual engagements and duration in the project.
  • An agency might not agree on what all you say. Some agencies refuse extra services which do not follow its ambit i.e. an agency is only focused on software development but not on its promotion, in that case, they will not offer you developed app promotion service. Though it makes them specialized in specific services they offer.

But, if you see the bigger picture it is advisable to work with a team rather than depending on a one-man show.

Also, a team will undoubtedly offer you comprehensive expertise as regards the project which you have on hand.

An agency will never shift on to a new job leaving you stranded right in the middle. In short, a team will assure that you have a back at all times.

Flexibility****

Freelancers offer more flexibility as they are ready to even work at odd hours but this can jeopardize the quality of your project.

For success, it is hugely vital to follow set patterns of working in order to rope inefficiency. Even though freelancers usually do not have problems even adjusting the time zone for your project you cannot be sure of the end product.

The goal of an agency is to offer you superb services in a systematic manner. So you cannot label their orderly way of working as their lack of flexibility.

Some questions you should you ask an agency before you hire its services

  • How long have you been in the industry?
  • What approach do you follow regarding projects on hand?
  • What is your project management strategy?
  • How many hours in a day will you dedicate to my project?
  • What is your average delivery time?
  • Do you offer post-launch support?
  • Can you give a ballpark quote for the project?
  • Only once you receive a satisfactory response to all these questions, you should go ahead to hire an agency.

It is better to have all things cleared out at the start to avoid any kind of discrepancy later on. An agency has a right mix of people to offer you things as per your need.

Also, you will get the right guidance, as agencies have a reputation to maintain. They go to all extents to build up their name and standing in the industry.

Conclusion

Whether your company hires services of a freelance app developer or you get a team working on your project is entirely your decision.

The above-mentioned parameters will help you decide which road to take. Just make sure the developer whom you hire holds specific expertise in developing the apps lest you will be wasting your money. He should be able to test the app and also review the code.

When you go in for an agency, a team is available to handle all aspects of app development. This minimizes your headache on small issues. But, if you not willing to spend a lot of money, it makes sense that you hire a freelancer and work in tandem with him so that you get an app within your stipulated budget.

At end of the day regardless of the fact whether your app is made by an agency or whether it is made by a freelancer, the process remains the same.

A similar level of expertise is needed and same steps are required to build the app. So, if you want a successful product and experience, hire the best in the industry.

Both freelancers and professional agencies have advantages and disadvantages, so it narrows down to your project requirement. If your project is huge and complex do not commit the mistake of working with a freelancer as a team of collaborators will without a second thought offer you superior results.

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